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Transform Adversity Into Challenge

“Of all the virtues we can learn, no trait is more essential for survival and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Olympic : Transform Adversity Into Challenge

Transform Adversity Into ChallengeAll high performers go through tough times at some point. Michael Jordan was dropped from his high school basketball team, Kelly Holmes had persistent injury problems before eventually winning her double Olympic gold, Steve Redgrave was diagnosed with diabetes…the list is endless. It is almost like it is a natural part of the path to success, a challenge or challenges that have to be endured and survived in order to take you to the next level. Not unlike the hero in some ancient Greek mythology tale talking on the challenges in order to achieve the great prize. I remember once reading about New Zealand triathlete Hamish Carter  who was focussed and determined to win the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. He was a very talented athletes and trained really hard and dedicated his whole life to the achievement of that goal. Imagine then his disappointment at finishing 26th. Following that setback he decided to re-evaluate his whole training process, lifestyle, psychology everything. He then set about on another four year training cycle towards the 2004 games in Athens. At those games he finished first, achieved his goal, his dream and then categorically stated that it had taken that loss in 2000 to give him the drive to really make some changes in his approach, and that had given him the mental toughness to be able to win in 2004. In his own words:

“The key to success is failure. If I didn’t have Sydney to wallow in, I wouldn’t have won in Athens. It [Sydney] was the worst day of my life, but one of the most important,” he added.
Hamish Carter, 2004 Olympic Triathlon Champion

It is not so much whether you encounter setbacks or not that determines how successful you will be, but it is more of a function of how you deal with those setbacks. This is what truely separates out the winners from the rest. Tough times make tough people. Getting through these times is often a function of desire and passion to achieve the end goal, self-belief and the mental and physical resilience to keep going and enduring this period.